Netflix Is Getting Rid of Its 30-Day Free Trial Period

You want to stream something? You're gonna have to pay up.

'Ozark' | Netflix
'Ozark' | Netflix

If you're one of the remaining few who has yet to sign up for a Netflix account, maybe you've been holding out for the right moment to do so—say, when a Netflix original you really want to see is about to drop. So you binge that and a few movies within a month, and then cancel your free trial before you're ever charged. It's a good plan in theory, but it won't work any more: Now, the streaming service is doing away with its free trials. 

As of October, Netflix is no longer offering a 30-day free trial period in the U.S., as reported by Variety. That's right: As soon as you sign up, you'll start to be billed monthly right away. 

Although it may come as a surprise to many of us who have a handful of streaming subscriptions and know the free trial period all-too well, it makes sense that Netflix has been moving towards this for a little while. The streamer began canceling free trials back in 2018 in some international markets, and as recent as August of this year, it started rolling out its Watch Free feature, which allows people without subscriptions to view a small selection of original shows and movies for free without an account. As of now, consider Watch Free as the replacement for a free 30 days. 

Netflix isn't the only streaming service to end its trial period recently, as noted by Variety. For example, Disney+ got rid of its seven-day trial period just ahead of the release of the premiere of the extremely popular musical Hamilton. Largely, though, these do continue to exist and range in length, from Hulu and Amazon's 30 days to HBO Max's seven days. 

With Netflix now only attracting potential new subscribers with a curated set of original shows and movies, rather than having the option to binge a licensed series like Breaking Bad or Community, it's banking on its own content (which it was basically already doing anyway). TBD if that'll be enough to finally get those who've refused to pay for a subscription to sign up, or if those same people will make do with a Netflix-free lifestyle.

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Sadie Bell is the entertainment editorial assistant at Thrillist. She's on Twitter at @mssadiebell.